Bernard Madoff's epic Ponzi scheme, which is still be investigated by federal prosecutors and securities regulators, has resulted in far more claims from victims than expected. 8,800 claims had been filed by victims by the start of last month, but the finally tally of claims is actually 15,400, according to an interim report [pdf] filed yesterday by the trustee overseeing the liquidation of Madoff’s estate. The trustee tells the Times he's "unearthed a labyrinth of international funds, institutions and entities of almost unparalleled complexity." The claims include 258 applications to the trustee’s hardship program, which is supposed to fast-track reimbursement to victims who are elderly, bankrupt, or unable to pay for basic living expenses or medical needs. (152 of those claims have been approved.) Meanwhile, Madoff's lawyers have announced that he won't appeal the 150-year sentence, which means he'll almost certainly die behind bars. But every six months he can look forward to a big shipment of letters from his irate victims; the website Madoff Mail is now accepting hate mail and e-mail, and promises to deliver them to the phony financier twice a year.